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Harada Roshi

Guidance at the time of Corona #11

Dear All,


Every day doing zazen as an important part of your life?


zazen is not the form of sitting zazen, but all motions of the day are zazen. Since the time of the Buddha it is taught in this way. Sitting is zen, standing is zen, all five positions of the day are zazen.


After the awakening of the Buddha for 49 year without resting a single day, the Buddha taught his students. Bodhidharuma as well at the high age of 140 he travelled to China. Not being quiet for a single moment, the ancients passed on their experience to society. Not only sitting zazen when there was a need for it, but doing training all day long. Not losing the state of mind of Zazen in our daily life, that is not how Zen looks at it. Zen is taking every single moment of your day as being your zazen. For that we need to know our center well, then not losing that center, just like a top spinning. When the top is balanced well on its one point, then it can move freely in all directions.


The same is true for us. When we have many extraneous thoughts, we lose the natural flow of our mind. This is called confusion.


Sitting zazen, talking or being quiet – that is also zazen. We can do all types of work, we can stay centered in our mind from morning until night, not having lost our center we do not stop anywhere. Our body then responds and acts accordingly. That is called Zen. If we think, it is all about sitting, then as soon as we move, we lose our essence easily. We may be quiet when sitting but as soon as we move, we are pulled around by outer impressions. If we fall into inner noise, that is not zen.


We simply sit to experience the base of our mind.

“Daily work is worth 10000 times that of sitting zazen. “ Zazen is not only when sitting, but when we work, we can do not lose our center – that is zen. Not just in the zendo but in our daily life, not stuck on the form, when we are in society, we do not lose this central focus. Please see this as important. And check for yourself how alive your zazen is. In daily life staying centered is important.


How we sleep at night is how our day starts. How we sleep affects us is of great importance. When we go to sleep, we should be in a huge expansive state of mind, facing up, the legs a bit apart, and feeling as if this great universe is embracing us. Just when our mother held us in her arms when we were small, when we could completely entrust to being held, with this huge feeling we can fall asleep. Not forcing ourselves to sleep, but with a natural feeling, not pulling that along what happened during the day, neither being so exhausted that we simply fall asleep, but with a huge feeling, a huge state of mind, we can rest deeply. This is a habit of our daily life which we can practice. How we fall asleep, we know it best ourselves and need to look at this carefully. Huge and entrusting completely, that is how our state of mind should be. Do not be mean and critical with yourself, do not judge yourself, but simply entrust. There is no need to think about anything when falling asleep.


If we pull those many thoughts and emotions of the day into our sleep, we create a huge damage to our mind. This we should not do. If we were to do this, we do not wake up with a good feeling. We can check ourselves when we wake up. If we can wake up quickly, feeling light and bright, that shows us we we actually fell asleep. If you want to wake up refreshed, then to point is about how we fall asleep.


Do not carry those happenings of the day, those many thoughts and emotions into your sleep. That is the important point of zazen. If we wake up refreshed, our day will continue in this way and we can respond to encounters in a bright way. How we sleep at night shows us how we give life to our zazen.


Please look at this carefully. It is not about making efforts to sit only, we should not try to not think either, but this hugeness of mind is what we need to experience.
Please however the situation in society may be, do not let your state of mind get affected by it.



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